Personalization: Your Guide to Being Bold

November 02, 2017 Ben Magnuson

When kicking off a personalization strategy for a website, striking the correct balance of when to trigger the experience and where to personalize can be a tough task.

Unlike with personalizing an email marketing experience, marketers don’t always know the personal details that help craft the perfect message. Instead, digital marketers are usually relying on user behavior to customize the experience.

We often come across these common questions when implementing a personalization strategy:

  • How narrow should we be in qualifying users? If we only trigger for behaviors that we are certain indicate a certain user, will we end up personalizing for too few, or should we qualify more broadly but risk including the wrong audience?
  • How bold should a personalized offering be compared to an anonymous one? Should the experience announce that we know who they are or nudge them to the behavior we think could help?

We see these two considerations as related. Where you decide to qualify more users in a personalization funnel, the less bold the experience should be in assuming the behavior the user wants. The more strictly you qualify, the bolder you can be in presenting personalized, helpful guidance.

We created a graph to illustrate this dynamic:

personalization strategy for b2b

Let’s look at the extreme ends of this graph.

A) More Certain, Bolder
Certain user actions on your website may be a big indicator that they are an interested user (analytics should be reviewed to prove this). When there is a strong likelihood that a behavior indicates a specific user and user mindset, you can be bolder in the customizing of the experience.

Example: You have found that users that fill out their personal information to download a white paper are more likely to also reach out to you via a ‘Contact Us’ form.

Both offering personal information and performing a download can show strong preference, which the personalization can match.

Examples:

  • Add a prompt to reach out via the Contact Us form when the white paper download begins.
  • Use the information already received from the gated content to pre-fill out form data on contact us.
  • Use a pop-up to help drive users to contacting. At this point, they have shown a greater willingness to engage.

B) Less Certain, Less Bold
This approach should be taken when you are profiling a user based on behavior that is general.

Example: When a user views an article related to a “Privacy” practice, they are identified into the “Privacy” personalization funnel.

But we still know very little about this user. This pageview may indicate someone interested in Privacy services, or someone researching a specific topic who happent to stumble upon it on a search engine.

In this case, the personalization should be more subtle. Instead of a pop-up asking the user to call a Privacy practice leader, solutions instead could be:

  • Adding highlights to the page related to more Privacy content
  • Updating the homepage to highlight the Privacy practice
  • Simplifying the subscribe process to auto-fill the “Privacy Newsletter” option 

User as First Priority
Always keep the user experience in mind when designing your personalization journey. The more intrusive the experience, the more certain you should be that this is what the user is looking for.

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Ben Magnuson Senior Data Strategist

As a Senior Data Strategist at One North, Ben supports clients by applying a strong data focus to marketing initiatives across channels and tools. Digital Marketing tools produce vast quantities of raw data, but often little direction on how to apply it to an effective digital strategy. Ben partners with our clients to streamline and optimize this process. He starts by gaining an understanding of each client’s unique goals and tactics, and guides them toward a strategic analytics program. He focuses on the creation of a meaningful feedback loop to help support and steer decision-making.

  • Favorite vending machine snack: Snickers
  • Most embarrassing moment: Accidentally walking into the same section of the revolving door with the restaurant hostess as she led us to the patio.

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